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Saved 3/05/13 to Group Therapy

Commitment Issues Or...?


Most of the time I'm thrilled by the idea of marriage and starting a family with my current significant other. But when it comes time to really consider it, when it gets closer to reality, I panic and I'm not sure why. It's hard for me to even discuss it, it causes me so much discomfort I could just cry.

I'm prone to anxiety, so it's difficult for me to determine whether there is a legitimate reason for my hesitance or not. Any change can be scary. It's a big step. How much anxiety is normal?

When searching for help for commitment phobia, the advice is usually to seek therapy and end the relationship, don't force it. I don't think I totally fit the description of a commitment-phobe. Do you think this is an issue I can work out within the relationship? Where do I start? Any insight? FYI, we've been together for 5 years, and marriage and family is definitely the direction he wants to go.

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Why do you think you don't fit the description of a commitment phobe? I'd say your description, although brief, is right on the money for the issue. "legitimate reason for my hesitance..." you have a fear, an anxiety that is preventing you from doing something you say you want to do, with someone you believe you want to do it with. You've asked for advice, and the advice has been 'seek therapy'. It's good advice, but you've rejected it, which basically means that you are holding on to your fear, holding on to your commitment phobia....so, somehow, the fear is working for you. You are getting something out of it. And that's where you start. You can't change what you don't acknowledge. If you truly want help, then you need to accept the steps and do the things that will help you. Why is the advice to break up? I'm not sure I believe that's what others are telling you....I believe it's what you're telling yourself. And, as a commitment phobe, it will relieve your anxiety for the moment....right up until you get into another relationship and are faced with exactly the same issue. This is one of the patterns that commitment phobes follow....they get into relationships with people who are looking for commitment, and then they freak, and run away. There are variations on the theme, some of which can be incredibly devastating to their partners... I recommend a book that bubbles recommended to me, He's Scared, She's Scared, by Sokol and Carter. It's available through Amazon, very cheap....pretty much the shipping cost. If you give it a read you'll find yourself in it's pages There are commitment phobic people who figure out ways in which a relationship can work for them. Some involve overcoming their fears, and some involve incorporating and accepting their fears. You're at the stage where you understand that you have a serious issue, and you understand what the issue is, even though you're denying it here. You get it. Now, you either make the choice to acknowledge it and deal with it, or you continue on ignoring and denying it until you break up with your partner, or until he breaks up with you. Whether that happens before you commit and have kids or after will determine how much pain and to how many people. Give the book a try....it describes the passive and the active behaviors of commitment phobic folks....a collection of the experiences of all kinds of people who have the issue or have been involved with phobic partners. It's very eye opening. The ultimate answer is that we are, each and every one of us, responsible for our own actions, our own choices, our own issues. And there is not majic wand or easy fix....it's all work. And it's not about legitimate vs....whatever you are putting in there....you have a fear, it hurts you, it gives you anxiety, it affects your life. So deal with it. You don't need an excuse to deal with it. You don't need a determination or a cause for the fear before you take steps towards helping yourself. Finding the causes of our fears is part of the process of dealing with them...it's not something you need to do first in order to accept that you have a 'legitimate' issue. Right now, you're using 'legitimate' as an excuse to not seek help...again, you are getting something out of that choice, you are choosing to not face your issue because you think facing your issue will eventually push you into a place you don't want to go. It doesn't have to do that. You will always have a choice. Or maybe that's it....you don't want a choice. Right now, your anxiety keeps you from commiting. You're afraid that if you face the issue, the result will be....comittment.